To ensure faster settlement of claims for farmers in case of crop loss and bring in overall efficiency in the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), the Haryana government has decided to set up its own insurance firm, which would be operational in the next one year. A state agriculture department official told FE, the state will soon be seeking the nod from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India. “We hope to provide crop insurance to farmers through newly created entity by kharif 2018,” the official said. At present, short-listed private insurance companies implement the crop insurance scheme in the state. As per the agriculture ministry data, 1.47 lakh farmers availed the crop insurance scheme in the state in the 2016 kharif season. Against the gross premium payment of Rs 255 crore, reported claims under PMFBY was Rs 234 crore. Data about the number of farmers availing crop insurance in the just concluded rabi season is yet to be compiled. State government officials said by creating its own entity, the state’s share of subsidy incurred while implementing the scheme would go to the new entity and the settlement of farmers’ claims would be faster. “There has been delays in payment of crop insurance claims, a portion of last year’s kharif claims is yet to paid,” the official said. As per the 2011 Census, there are around 16.7 lakh farming families in Haryana.
Creation of a state-level insurance entity would help expand the coverage of PMFBY, where farmers need to pay only 2% of the sum insured for the kharif crops and 1.5% for all rabi crops as premium. The remaining share of the premium is borne equally by the Centre and the respective state. The NDA government’s flagship programme, launched last year, is currently being implemented by empanelled five public and 13 private insurance companies. Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh recently said, “If states feel they are burdened to pay their share of premium to private insurers (during good monsoon period when claims are normally less), then we have asked them to set up their own insurance firms to implement the scheme.” Besides Haryana, Punjab and Gujarat have shown interest in setting up their own crop insurace firms. Punjab is yet implement PMFBY. Under the scheme, paddy, bajra, maize and cotton crops are being covered during kharif season, and wheat, gram, barley and mustard would be covered during rabi season. Under cluster 1, the scheme would be implemented in Sirsa, Bhiwani and Charkhi Dadri, Faridabad, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Panchkula and Rewari districts by ICICI Lombard General Insurance. In rest of the 14 districts, consisting of two clusters, the implementation would be carried out by Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company.